Federal government created the mess we're in, not those who are wealthy
It is clear to me that the “Wall Street Occupiers” are going after the symptoms of our problems, not the disease. Being rich is not an evil thing -- it is how you become rich that is at issue. The naive protestors do not seem to understand that the federal government is the problem and has created the mess with which we are in.
Federal spending, such as the $700 billion “stimulus package,” does not generate wealth - it only transfers money from one pocket to another. While it is nice to have a new bicycle bridge over U.S. 23 next to Geddes Road. the bridge is not worth anything because no one will buy it.
Crony capitalism is a major problem perpetuated by the federal government. Investing our tax dollars in favored companies under the philosophic argument that it will be good for our country is simply wrong. Of course, Solyndra is the current classic example. Two years ago the federal government invested in a South Korean company (L.G.) that makes car batteries for hybrid vehicles located near Kalamazoo. The list is endless. These practices simply must stop.
It is the well intentioned legislation with unintended consequences created by federal legislation that is even a larger problem. The “Affordable Housing Act” generated by President Carter is the genesis of the recent housing market meltdown contributing to the resulting recession. The money made by “Wall Street” resulted from this legislation and the illusion of the housing market boom. “Wall Street” merely reacted to the gold mine presented to them by the federal government. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are equally guilty of contributing to the meltdown by underwriting worthless mortgages -- all in the name of a federal “feel good” program to make home ownership accessible to people who couldn’t afford the mortgages.
Taxing the rich is a romantic thought -- the Robin Hood approach, but it doesn’t solve the problem. As per Forbes magazine, the top 400 wealthiest individuals in the United States are worth 1.5 trillion dollars. Even if the federal government taxed them at 100 percent of worth, this money would not even cover half of this year’s budget, let alone make a dent in the 14+ trillion dollar national debt. There are approximately 1,400,000 people in the top 1 percent of wage earners. This one percent paid 38% of the income tax revenue in 2008. To generate a trillion dollars more this group would be required to each pay an additional $715,000 in taxes. The bottom 50% of wage earners paid 2.59% of the income tax revenue. So, who is carrying the load?
And as for corporations -- they don’t pay taxes, you do for them. Taxes are imbedded in the cost of doing business and are included in the cost of goods and services. As previously stated -- the federal government doesn’t create wealth, it transfers existing wealth.
The creation of the Federal Reserve -- a private bank that controls our money supply was and is a bad idea. There simply are too many connections between banks, investment firms, and the Federal Reserve -- without a glimmer of transparency. We must return to the banking system prior to Jekyll Island and place the money supply back in the hands of Congress and “the people.”
If the “Wall Street Occupiers” and those in our own Liberty Square really want to have an impact they must focus on Washington and ask for accountability from our government. But wait, the Tea Party has already done this -- without the violence.
Ben H. Colmery III is a veterinarian and a long-time resident of Ann Arbor. He is in private practice and has been on the faculty at Michigan State University and on staff at veterinary specialty practices.